It’s no secret that Michael Jackson and Prince weren’t exactly the biggest fans of one another. As two of the biggest pop stars of the 1980s, and as pioneers of black music in commercial radio and television, Jackson and Prince were often pitted against one another in the media, and subsequently, in the minds of their fans. There’s a whole chapter about their feud in music writer Steven Hyden’s latest book about music rivalries, Your Favorite Band is Killing Me (which is really worth checking out).
It should come as no surprise then that Michael Jackson harbored some seriously ill will against the Purple One. The Daily Mirror obtained a set of recordings that were made to help craft Jackson’s 1988 autobiography, Moonwalker, and recently revealed for the first time the singer’s real thoughts about Prince.
“I don’t like to be compared to Prince at all,” Jackson said. “I have proven myself since I was real little. It’s not fair. He feels like I’m his opponent. I hope he changes because boy, he’s gonna get hurt. He’s the type that might commit suicide or something.”
He went on to add that Prince was, “So rude, one of rudest people I have ever met. Prince is very competitive. He has been very mean and nasty to my family.” And then, alluding to a famous triple performance between Jackson, Prince, and the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, the Thriller mastermind recalled that Prince, “Made a fool of himself. He was a joke.” He added, “People were running and screaming. I was so embarrassed. It was all on video.”
It’s a harsh take from the King of Pop, but not an altogether surprising one. As for his last comments, check out the video below and decide for yourself if MJ’s take on the event squares with reality.